Disclosure: This is a long one! Hang in there with me!
A moment. Dictionary.com defines a moment as an indefinitely short period of time; instant. In our lives we experience billions of moments, nearly an infinite amount yet, how many do we remember, hold onto and cherish?
In times like we live in when everyones lives seem to be rushed and stressed, how often do people actually take the time to reflect upon the importance that moments play in their life? Moments that have shaped who we are; who we hope to be. Awhile back, a fellow blogger, Exavier Pope who pens the blog Ex Posts Facto, wrote of a time in his life he was struggling. And then of the instant his life changed.
"I saw my entire life unfold in an instant. My first vision consisted of the path I was on. The second vision consisted of taking another path. I saw my wife, my children, my struggles, my triumphs, everything. I saw my future, even writing this post. Most importantly, I saw the expectation my foster mother placed in me to become someone special." He understood the importance of that moment.
In my life I have moments that are so vivid in my memory I can relive them as though they just happened. They help me through times when I am feeling down or worry about how fast my life seems to be flying by. They remind me of decisions I made and why I made them, good or bad. So, I compiled a list of the most significant moments of my life and why. There are more but these resonate continuously.
1) I was roughly 3-4 years old. Every summer we spent at a cottage in South Haven, MI. I was in front of that cottage when an ant crawled up my leg. I screamed and my father picked me up and flicked that ant away. I knew then my Dad would always protect me.
2) It was 1963, the first morning in a new house. I woke up wondering where I was and why. I called down the stairs for my "mommy". I went down and sat in her lap as she explained that we were now living in this new place and not the apartment that I remembered. She made it sound like so much fun and in that moment I felt protected by her too.
3) It's 1969. I've already been a victim of bullying from the boys at school. But now I'm in seventh grade and girls want to beat me up. I'm at a youth group meeting at a synagogue and a group of girls are blocking every door when I try to leave. Marlene G wants to "kick my ass". They escort me outside to the back of the place. Marlene starts throwing punches and with strength I never knew I had, I push her down and she falls in the mud. She is wearing a new, suede fringe coat her boyfriend had bought her. It's full of mud. She gets up and says "now you f--ker, now you die". I run home and I realize that I really won that fight. I was unscathed and she was not. I felt triumphant.
4) I'm boarding the school bus. It's 1971. Someone is talking about death and that moment defines my entire life when I realize I am not going to live forever, nor are my parents. I was panic stricken for weeks and to this day will never forget that feeling. THAT was a moment.
5) It's Christmas break 1978. I've finished my two year degree and have just completed my first semester at NIU. I've met a guy that lives back at home. I decide to drop out of college and be with him. No one guides me otherwise. Single handedly the worst decision I have ever made. A moment where everything in my career path could have been different and I would live to regret it to this very day.
6) November 27, 1982. It's my wedding day ....my first one. I am about to walk down the aisle to say I do and I knew this was a worse mistake than dropping our of school. I know in that instant I should turn and run but I don't. I go through the motions and spend my honeymoon night locked in a bathroom figuring out how to get out of it. The moment of my divorce was a lesson to be learned forever: I would never go through that again.
7) April 5, 1987. It's my wedding day....again. But in the moment that I say I do I know I am going to be with this one forever. I got it right this time.
8) Everyone can claim that the births of their children are their best moments and I'm sure they are. For myself in the moment that my first child was born I knew that my life had been completed. I knew that my role in life had been defined, fulfilled. Having a second child was even more fulfilling. Those moments that they were born and all the moments watching them grow have been so important to me, so life changing. I never knew how much love I had in my heart until they were born.
9) In September of 1993 I had just completed a year of improvisation classes at the Players Workshop of The Second City. On an early Sunday morning in front of an audience of nearly 500 people, I performed in my classes graduation show right there on the Second City Stage. At the end of the show we all lined up and took a bow. At that moment I remember crying - tears of joy that I had done something I'd always dreamed of: making people laugh.
10) August 1998. I have been unhappy in any career choice I have made. Not finishing college continues to haunt me. I discover a way to start a business. Actually my husband plots out the strategy. It works. In an instant I become a self employed entrepreneur. Scary moment for sure as I did not know f it would be a success. But I knew after years of trying that I could not work for other people. I took the plunge. Fifteen years later, it is a success. With ups and downs; good and bad moments.
11) On July 16,2003 I received a call from my Doctor that the results of my breast biopsy were in. I had cancer. It was malignant. My life changed forever in that moment. Never again would I look at anything the same way. This year marks ten years of survival. I live for every moment I am given.
12) August 2006 my oldest daughter leaves for college. We get her moved in to her dorm and are about to leave. We are together in the stairwell saying goodbye and in that moment I feel as though my heart is being ripped out of my chest. It was that time in life that I realized just how fast time goes and I wondered how I was going to live without my girl at home. I learned, and for those of you reading this with kids who are yet to leave, you will live. It will be different but you will live.
13) It's February 19, 2009. I am at my mother's bedside as she takes her last breath. What else can one say about a moment when they lose their mother? I lost a part of myself that day. An empty hole that can never be filled. It made me really look at my own mortality. It brought on a sadness I'd never felt. Another life changing moment, a permanent one.
14) May 2010. My oldest is graduating from college. During the ceremony, the keynote speaker Quincy Jones makes a statement I never forget: "It's better to be sorry you did then to wish you had". I think of my life and how it led up to that moment. I realize that I should not regret anything I had done because the life I'd led is what brought me to that moment. The moment when I burst with pride watching my girl do something I'd not done.
15) January 2012. We make our last college tuition payment ever. I realize in that moment that we have spent 25 years together working towards that very instant. The instant we would always know in our hearts how hard we worked to provide these educations for our girls. And the opportunities that lie ahead of them that we did not have. What a great moment, coupled with daughter two graduating that May and finding a job in TWO DAYS. Now that's what I'm talking about.
In the past year there have been so many moments to remember. We moved from our home of 22 years, we bought a new home that we love, our girls have moved out and we are growing older.
The important thing to me is that those moments defined every bit of who I am, who we are as a family unit. Every summer we go to the ocean. On the last day of our trips the four of us huddle together in the water. We pray for the next year's fortune and good health and seize that moment for all it's worth.
Now you all go spend some time like this. Make your moments and remember them, write them down if you have to. They will all mean so much to you someday.
Time to go make some more.
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